Watching paint dry is perhaps the most unfairly maligned activity of the last century. But while it may be boring to watch a wall wilt, being there in the flesh as an Airbus A380 receives a six-digit face lift is a sight to behold. Unfortunately, it’s also not a view many of us are privy to.
Enter: the above video. Courtesy of CNN Travel, the clip, reposted to Youtube by Moto Lewinski shows why it costs $100,000 to paint a plane – specifically, a Nippon Airways A380, for which “large decals designed earlier using 3D modelling” are being used to depict “giant turtles.”
The video is set in a dedicated airbus painting facility in Hamburg, Germany, and shows a number of more standard elements to this process too. One being: most airplanes come off the assembly line with a green or beige coating.
They are then are painted using sprayers and gigantic stencils. After that, like walls, they get an eco-friendly, chrome-free primer and background colour. The thickness of each additional design layer is critical (the more weight, the more fuel will later be needed to propel the jet) and measured accordingly, then a final clear coat of varnish seals everything in and protects the plane against erosion and UV rays.
“All planes get painted several times before they’re retired,” CNN Travel adds.
The process takes approximately two weeks and, depending on size, can cost “anywhere between $50,000 and $300,000,” CNN Travel reports.